Psychiatrist condemns DPP’s release of medical report to media

first_img Sharing is caring! Share Share LocalNews Psychiatrist condemns DPP’s release of medical report to media by: – January 26, 2012 Sharecenter_img 127 Views   5 comments Tweet Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Griffin BenjaminOn Monday January 23, 2012, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) defended his decision to discontinue the court matter involving a client of the Community Mental Health Team. A few statements used by this senior judicial officer to justify his actions could be considered demeaning, unethical and wholesomely unprofessional conduct unexpected from such a prestigious office.Public declaration by the DPP that he had discussed the matter with the Consultant Psychiatrist is incorrect. The Consultant Psychiatrist was ordered by the court to present a psychiatric report to the court on completion of a court ordered admission (Section 8.1). This report was submitted to the court October 4, 2010 and represents the only communication between the offices of the DPP and the Consultant Psychiatrist. It was very unethical that the DPP could read out to the public the words of a confidential medical report that was issued by court subpoena. The courts in Dominica rely mainly on the professional discretion of a Consultant Psychiatrist to determine the fitness of Dominicans to offer a plea in court when there may be doubts of the individual’s mental competence. In accordance with the Mental Health Act 1986 Section 8.1, the court orders that any person before the court who is presumed to be mentally unstable be admitted for a period of time until he becomes well and fit to plead. Unfortunately, the statements by the DPP indicate that he may not understand the issue of mental competence to stand trial. Every month, the Community Mental Health Team treats dozens of persons with Mental Health problems and makes them fit to stand trial. The DPP has the authority to discontinue any matter that is before him. However, he must be able to justify his actions in a reasonable manner without pulling down his own social support system. The CMHT has successfully provided care and support to this client over the past eighteen months. Therefore, the decision by the DPP to refer this client for institutional Mental Healthcare in another country was unnecessary. This senior officer is not in a position to condemn the Dominica Mental Health Services.The decision of the DPP to discontinue a case of double infanticide secondary to Post-partum Depression is well supported by medical rationale. It is probably the most honourable action to take. The CMHT has the professional capacity to provide professional mental health care to all of Dominica despite the negative views expressed by the Director of Public Prosecution.Press ReleaseHealth Promotion Resource Centrelast_img read more